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The Milton Measure

Hillary Clinton: Not a Perfect Candidate

by on Friday, March 7th, 2014

Hillary Clinton: the princess of the Democratic Party. Not only is she considered the most powerful American woman at the moment, but she is also widely accepted as the inevitable Democratic Presidential nominee for 2016. Pundits and many Milton students see her as the enchantress of American politics, someone infinitely electable and infinitely experienced. The perpetuation of this theory, a theory that calls Hillary a wonderfully qualified candidate who could quite easily be president, is a phenomenon fascinating not only in its scope but also in the level of its inaccuracy. In short, she’s not as capable as the public believes.

Her track record is deceiving. Her law career shined early on, but a history of lackluster decisions have not exactly defined her as an exceptional candidate. Hillary took a particularly active role in the legislative affairs of Bill’s administration, yet the Universal Heath Care Plan, widely seen as her crowning achievement, was a complete failure; it never passed. Documents released just this week from the Clinton presidential library, as reported on Politico, show that despite significant warnings from Senators and Congressmen–and their warnings of the need to hold more meetings with house members on the bill–Hillary failed to heed the warnings of the health care plan’s impending collapse. Politico further wrote that the documents show that the bill “lost steam due to utter disorganization.”

After her run as First Lady, her failures as Secretary of State during Obama’s first term were far-reaching. President Obama’s campaign for the presidency constantly highlighted how he could help American regain its moral stature in the world, and the world looked at then-Senator Obama with immense hope and admiration. After his speech at the Brandenburg Gate, a speech in front of tens of thousands of Germans, Europeans across the continent began to feel confident that America would once again lead the world to a more just future. Clinton, however, has not yet followed through on these promises.

America also failed to help Egypt establish the government it deserves. After the Egyptian military toppled the questionable regime of Muhammad Morsi, the State Department could have used its considerable sway over the Egyptian army to quickly bring about elections and a liberal government. Clinton could have utilized the leverage of our military aid to Egypt, valued at more than $1.5 billion a year, to bring about change. Instead, Hillary led a passive State Department, preferring inaction to the progress of the region. More than a year later, the military remains in control of an undemocratic Egypt.

Many cite Hillary’s oversight of the transition of power in China as proof that the State Department managed a delicate situation and suggest that Hillary deserves credit for artful guidance in a dangerous world. This argument is immaterial: to think that we have influence over the internal workings of the Chinese Communist party is daft.

Secretary Kerry’s time as Secretary of State has been dramatically more productive. Successful negotiations with the Russians over Syrian chemical weapons in September of 2013, stimulating Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in July of 2013, and successful bilateral negotiations with China on a number of issues, also in July of 2013, demonstrate the kind of action that we hoped for from Hillary.

Yet despite Mrs. Clinton’s failures in the State Department, there is another dimension to this story. She is probably going to win the presidency, especially considering her previous connection to the office. Hillary will have learned from the 2008 primaries and will run an effective campaign. Furthermore, she will ignite women, who make up a majority of the voting population, to volunteer and donate; just as it was joyful to watch an African American become president, it will be compelling to vote for our first female president.

As President, Hillary will be served, as Jonathan Allen writes in his Clinton biography, by a “deep understanding of the levels of power within the American government and in international politics.” Hillary’s accomplishments alone do not qualify her for the presidency, but it is her knowledge and her intellect that may allow her to lead this nation with conviction. Although her record certainly has its blemishes, she would offer unparalleled insight into the inner workings of the Presidency, an advantage not to be understated.

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Posted by on Mar 7 2014. Filed under More Opinion, Opinion, Recent Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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